* Same-store sales at U.S. Dunkin' Donuts shops up 3.2 pct
* To revise 2013 profit forecast after refinancing complete
* Says U.S. consumer spending holding up
* Shares up almost 3 percent
By Lisa Baertlein
Jan 31 Dunkin' Brands Group Inc posted
a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as operating
costs fell and sales at established Dunkin' Donuts cafes in the
United States came in above analysts' estimates.
The company, which also raised its quarterly dividend by 4
cents to 19 cents per share, plans to revise its 2013 profit
forecast once it knows what savings it will reap from
refinancing its debt, Chief Executive Nigel Travis told Reuters.
Shares in the chain were up 2.8 percent to $36.79 in morning
trading after the company joined rivals Starbucks Corp
and McDonald's Corp in reporting unexpected U.S.
strength in the latest quarter.
Dunkin' Brands has not seen any impact from this month's
U.S. payroll tax increase, which some experts feared could
depress consumer spending, Travis said.
"Other than the post-Christmas blues, I don't think the
(U.S.) consumer is in any worse shape," he said.
Dunkin' Donuts shops in the United States account for almost
75 percent of the company's revenue and more than 80 percent of
its profit. During the fourth quarter, that business reported a
3.2 percent rise in same-store sales, compared with the 2.4
percent rise Expected by analysts polled by Consensus Metrix.
The Canton, Massachusetts-based company, which also owns the
Baskin-Robbins ice cream brand, said net income rose to $34.3
million from $11.6 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings
were 34 cents before special items, slightly ahead of the 33
cents analysts expected.
Fourth-quarter operating costs and expenses fell 8 percent
to $98.9 million.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $161.7 million, missing the Street
estimate of $170.9 million.
Dunkin' Brands forecast per-share profit of $1.48 to $1.51
in 2013 before special items, while analysts were looking for
$1.51, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Company executives expect lower costs for coffee to offset
higher wheat prices due to last summer's historic U.S. drought.